new orleans, LA

AP and I just got back from mardi gras festivities in new orleans, and it was nothing short of epic.

  • on friday I managed to sneak out before our first ball and headed over to NOLA brewing to check out their setup.  the little I had heard about them was promising, but I was completely unprepared for the experience I was about have.
  • as soon as I walked in the door I was greeted by some friendly brewhands and a couple of marine biologists who were into craft beer, homebrewing, and safely eating crawfish (don’t suck the heads!).
  • in fact, within a minute or two of entering the brewhouse I had a pint glass in my hand and was watching a ten gallon pot being filled with brown ale to boil up some crustaceans.
  • fifteen minutes later I was on my second pour of NOLA’s excellent hopitoulas and was getting schooled on local beer spots by my new found friends.  minutes turned into hours as the tour turned into a full blown party, with the taps (and cask pump!) flowing freely and everyone chatting me up like I lived just down the street.
  • the excellent hospitality peaked with NOLA brewer melanie recounting some great beer adventures, reserving some of their first-run bottled stout for me at the local bottle shop, and running off to grab some of her boyfriend’s (killer!) distilled spirits for me to try.
  • several “where are you?!?” texts from AP and other ball-goers finally pulled me away and I reluctantly jumped into a cab, leaving behind a steaming pot of crawfish, a spectacular beer lineup, and a ton of fast friends who were some of the most welcoming I had ever met.
  • the next day the APs and I cruised over to the highly recommended avenue pub for a beer or three.  after reading a notice on their beer list apologizing for their limited tap selection due to mardi gras, I proceeded to grab bottles of la roja and fou foune (at great prices), as well as more NOLA pints and other local brews.
  • after sharing some spirits with the great bartender, wolfing down some tasty house fries, and digging through their quality back bar coolers, we ran into a fellow beer geek couple who made the drive out from florida.  we talked beer for the rest of the night at various spots throughout the city and I picked up some great southeast beer tips.  remember to shoot me your address for some beers!
  • the rest of the trip included shucking through hundreds of pounds of oysters at the source on a boat, pouring through abita’s lineup at the orpheus ball, stuffing my face at drago’s with the cvitanoviches, and grabbing/tossing more beads than I care to imagine all over the city.  I really want to thank everyone at NOLA and all the people I ran into over the last few days for making our mardis gras experience something that was really extraordinary.  the hospitality AP and I experienced on our trip was unmatched, and we both can’t wait to get back down to do it all over again.

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